CT at the Show
Kicking Off Community Source Week 2006
Open source enthusiasts from
higher ed institutions around the
world converged on Vancouver,
BC, this past spring for a week of
co-located conferences, including
Attendees of the Sakai conference
heard from keynoter Mitchell
Baker (pictured), "Chief Lizard Wrangler"
and president of Mozilla, the technology
company widely known for its
Internet applications Firefox
and Thunderbird. Baker’s talk
was loaded with perspectives on
open source. Her mantra? "The
Executive Director Named.
The Sakai Foundation Board capped its
conference with the announcement that University of Michigan Software Architect
and high-performance computing researcher Charles Severance (pictured) would
become the foundation’s executive director. Severance’s recent work has
spanned Sakai, the NEESgrid project, and the NSF Middleware
Initiative grid portal project.
In a Blue Moon.
Mike King (pictured), IBM’s director
of market development/education industry, detailed the company’s
latest contributions to the
open source community
in higher ed. Software
assets include SCORM
Tracker, a plug-in for tracking
using the standard; and a
to convert PowerPoint and
Open Office presentations
to SCORM objects.
IBM also is expanding
support for the developer
community, and will provide
a senior architect
to the Sakai community.
King talked about the
potential for commercial
offerings of Sakai, and
touched on a plan to pilot
a hosted service.
OCW Tool for Sakai.
At one of the many concurrent sessions, University of
Michigan Collaborative Technologies Laboratory Director and Sakai board Chair Joseph Hardin
(pictured) described a new tool being developed to "make it possible for anybody who’s using
Sakai as their collaboration and learning environment—their course management
system—to easily put their materials, if they wish, in an OCW site and make them available to the world."
Commercial Support Grows.
Institutions interested in
Sakai don’t have to feel limited by their internal capacity to work
with open source software, because vendor support for just
about any configuration is available today. rSmart introduced its own commercial Sakai CLE at the conference,
and a large team provided extensive information and
demos. President Chris Coppola (pictured), who also is on the
board of the Sakai Foundation, summed up his enthusiasm for
Sakai: "I’m proud that so many of us at rSmart are working
among this amazing community of people with such an
important mission and unprecedented potential to achieve it."
Unicon, Elluminate, and
other vendors, plus institutional
developers such as Virginia
Tech, Indiana University,
and others, offered a mix of
technical demos ranging
from discipline-specific tools,
quizzes, and assessment
tools, to podcasting and
IBM’s "Classroom of the